Raspberry Cordial

Delia received The Anne of Green Gables cookbook for Christmas. Anne of Green Gables was the first long chapter book we read together, so I thought she would enjoy the cookbook.  Sarah had this same cookbook when we were growing up, I think it had a different cover. But it’s one of the few children’s cookbooks I remember from my childhood.

When we were on our way home from church yesterday Delia asked if we could make cookies in the afternoon. I thought that sounded like a great idea – I really wanted a cookie too! When we got home she looked through her new cookbook and chose the recipe for cordial. I told Joshua he could look through a cookbook and choose a cookie recipe for us, he ended up choosing a peach pie. So we ended up with lots of treats, but no cookies!

The cordial is delicious. Delia loved it. If you’re an Anne of Green Gables fan you have to try it!

Diana Barry’s Favourite Raspberry Cordial

  • 2 packages frozen raspberries
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 2 lemons
  1. Boil the raspberries and sugar together over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 15 minutes)
  2. Run the raspberries through a fine mesh strainer and discard the pulp.
  3. Mix the raspberry syrup, boiling water and the strained juice from the lemons.
  4. Serve chilled with a slice of lemon.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

Yesterday was a rather gloomy day around these parts, and so it seemed like perfect hot chocolate weather. It also seemed like perfect soup weather, but since I’m still in holiday hibernation mode we had pizza! Hot chocolate however, is something I can handle! I don’t know if you’ve ever had the Williams-Sonoma hot chocolate, but it is absolutely decadent. It’s also $20! I have splurged on it in the past, but this year I thought I’d try my hand at making my own. From what I could tell, the WS version is just shaved chocolate, so I bought the best chocolate I could find at the grocery store, and I put it through the grater on my food processor. How much easier could that get?!  Just like with the truffles, the better the chocolate, the better the final experience, but start out with chocolate chips and work your way from there. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that this kind of chocolate requires milk instead of water. Powdered hot chocolate mix usually has powdered milk, but when all you have is chocolate, I think you need some kind of dairy. If you have allergies, I’m sure soy milk would work just fine. If you’re using an unsweetened or bitter chocolate, you’ll need to experiment with sugar. For the chocolate chips, just at milk and chocolate shavings to a saucepan, and heat until smooth. Serve these up with some homemade marshmallows, and you’re in for quite a treat!

Of course, the step up from the saucepan stove-top method is the Cocoa Latte. I think this is the best invention. It heats and mixes your hot beverages, and when they get to cool, it reheats them. I didn’t understand them until I first used one, and then I was hooked! I should probably become a distributor for these people, because I’ve sold at least 5 of my friends on them!

Strawberry Lemonade with a Hint of Mint

This should have been my first Vita-mix smoothie recipe, but alas my Vita-mix plans were foiled by the new air conditioner that we needed to buy this week. There’s nothing like spending two weeks in un-air conditioned discomfort… in south Texas, to make a person appreciate a nice cool beverage!

This is basically a combination lemonade/smoothie. I used simple syrup and fresh lemon juice and then added some frozen strawberries in the blender. The mint adds the tiniest hint of freshness. If your house has been 85 degrees for the past two weeks then you’ll be appreciating this recipe!!

Strawberry Lemonade with a Hint of Mint:


Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water


  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 5 large lemons)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup simple syrup
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 leaves of fresh mint


  1. To make simple syrup boil the 1c. sugar and 1 c. water. When the sugar is completely dissolved remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Mix lemon juice, simple syrup, mint, water and strawberries in a blender until smooth.
  3. Serve over ice and feel the cool!

Ladies Who Lunch: My Birthday!

I have a great group of friends, and for my birthday they threw me a little afternoon cocktail celebration! It was all vintage housewife, and it was so much fun that I completely lost track of time and ended up being late for dinner with my family (I might have to do a post on throwing an “I’m sorry” dinner for your in-laws!).

My friends organized the funnest, most relaxing afternoon. There was punch in fancy glasses, pastry wrapped cheese, goat cheese and crackers, fruit skewers and a delicious chocolate cake.

This theme would also make a great book club night, or even a fun idea for a bridal shower. The invitation set the tone, and the party favors were the best blinged out dish gloves!

Now, if you’re in the mood for something a little more over the top, stay tuned for Wednesday’s baby shower post!

Brazilian Lemonade

I was going to make some snappy title about going out and getting a Brazilian, but then I remembered that I share this blog with my sister, and that she might not appreciate my quirky sense of humor! Anyhow … where was I? Oh right, Brazilian lemonade. I’m not sure why exactly it’s called lemonade, because it’s made with limes. I think it something to do with Brazilian lemons looking like or actually being limes. I actually know people from Brazil, and I probably should’ve checked on it’s authenticity, but I don’t really think it matters too much. What does matter is it’s deliciousness. This has got to be one of the most refreshing drinks around. Just make sure to drink it right away. This isn’t something you store for days (or even hours) in the fridge. When your friends stop by for a quick hello, whip out the blender and some Portuguese and you’ll be well on your way to hostess with the mostess!

How cute are these baby sweetened condensed milk tins?

Brazilian Lemonade


  • 2 Limes
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 c. water


  1. Wash the limes thouroughly and cut off the ends. Cut the limes into wedges.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse away. If you don’t have a heavy duty blender you may want to mix the sugar, water and condensed milk first.
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and serve over ice. Paper umbrellas and tropical beach are both optional!



Frozen Hot Chocolate

This seemed like a good treat for all of us last night. There was a little celebrating going on because I finished my first sprint triathlon. I have been participating in an open water swim clinic put on by the parks & rec department and the final class was a mini tri to get us all ready to do the Whidbey Triathlon (only 9 more days!). We did a 1/2 mile swim – which I thought might kill me (it didn’t – but it’s definitely where I need the most work), a 10 mile bike ride, and a 1.5 mile run. I was feeling a little discouraged at the end because I came in second to last place – but now I’m just feeling good that I actually did it! My husband was encouraging me to think of how far I’ve come in the past couple of months –  considering I haven’t done much biking or swimming since I was a kid I think I’m doing alright! And at the end of it all I thought I deserved a treat :)

My son said “this is pretty much chocolate milk, why don’t you just call it chocolate milk?” But I think there is definitely a richer, smoother flavor to this recipe than your typical chocolate milk. And when you add whipped cream and more chocolate on top it doesn’t get much better! I think it’s a great treat for a warm Summer evening. Hope you enjoy it.

Frozen Hot Chocolate

  • 2 oz dark chocolate
  • 3 cups milk, divided
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 T chocolate syrup
  • 3 cups ice
  1. Break dark chocolate into pieces and mix with 1 cup milk and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on medium low until chocolate is melted. Let cool.
  2. Mix melted chocolate mixture, the rest of the milk, chocolate syrup and ice in a blender and blend away. Top with whipped cream and some little bits of chocolate.

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Combine all ingredients and whisk away if you’re wanting a workout, or stick everything in your stand mixer and let your Kitchen Aid whisk for you.

Chocolate Milk (almost) Straight from the Cow

We love our cows. To be honest, they did take some getting used to. I think we took some getting used to for them too. I was frightened at the beginning – Jason kept telling me to let them know who was boss, but I wasn’t sure how to do that. But it’s been pretty easy to feel in charge once I got over the whole fear issue!

Our cows are Dexters. It’s a smaller breed. Effie is full-grown and stands about chest height. We decided to go with a smaller breed because we didn’t think we would need gallons of milk every day and then we would also be able to feed them less than a jersey. We end up getting between 8 and 10 cups of milk a day. We milk her in the evening after Jason gets home from work. We are able to milk her just once a day and after the milking is done we let her and T-Bone (her bull calf) hang out the rest of the night. Jason separates them in the morning before he heads to work.  We would get more milk if we weaned her calf and also if we milked her twice a day. But this arrangement has been working out well for our family. This past weekend we took a day trip to see my brother and his family up in Vancouver and we were able to let the cows be together and then we didn’t have to worry about the milking.

We end up drinking most of the milk. If we get more than we can drink I make cheese. The only thing about having a Dexter is that we don’t really get enough milk to make butter. I don’t know if the fat content is much lower than a jersey would be or if it’s just the volume.

We also end up drinking quite a bit of chocolate milk. I am training for a triathlon and I hear it’s a good recovery drink (it’s nice to have an excuse, anyways).  I either make it in the blender I just dump in one cup milk, 1 T cocoa, 1 T sugar and a little vanilla and blend it up or I use a chocolate syrup and stir in about 1 Tablespoon into a glass of milk.

Chocolate Syrup

  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Sift cocoa and sugar into saucepan.
  2. Add water and salt and heat over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  4. Enjoy in a glass of milk or over a bowl of ice cream.

Italian Soda

My husband and I went on a much needed vacation to Italy last month, and while we were there I drank absolutely no Italian sodas! I’m not quite sure if these are authentic or not. I buy the syrup at Cost Plus World Market, so maybe that makes them international!!

None of this seems super Italian, but I’m no expert! Italian Sodas are, however, super easy, and very tasty. We made these last night with our anniversary dinner in the hopes that it would take us back to the serene twelve days where all of our children were with their grandparents! Sadly, it did not work. Although my kids did like stirring the sodas with their straws! We pretty much considered this dessert with dinner!

Here’s a little bit of Italian summer to enjoy in your own home!!

Italian Sodas:


  • Club Soda
  • 1 oz.  Cream
  • 1 oz. Flavored Syrup (my husband likes a bit more, but you can always add more. This drink can get really sweet really fast.)
  • Ice


  1. Fill a tall glass 3/4 full with ice. If your ice maker does crushed ice, all the better.
  2. Add the syrup. You can mix and match if you like, but we went with strawberry.
  3. Next fill the glass with the club soda.
  4. Top it off  with the cream.
  5. If you want to be way over the top you can add whipped cream and a cherry!

p.s. Today is Christina’s birthday. I know she’d love it if you’d all wish her a happy birthday in the comments!! You can also bring her a DQ ice cream cake (oh wait, maybe that’s me!), or anything whole grain!!

Smoothies 2 Ways

If you have kids who don’t like to eat their fruits and veggies, chances are you’ve tried to give them smoothies. Who doesn’t love a good smoothie? Today we’re going to show you the way we each make smoothies for our families.

Sarah’s Version:

Now, I’m all for being healthy, but I also need a certain amount of sweetness. My kids actually really like Christina’s spinach smoothies, it’s just that I sometimes have a hard time with the color! So, this version is strictly my preference. I’ve tried using yogurt and honey, but those really taste “healthy,” and I want my smoothie to taste more like a fruity milk shake! Now, if you have dairy allergies feel free to substitute sorbet for the sherbet (p.s. I’ve always thought it was “sherbert.” Who knew?!) I generally use a mix of fresh and frozen fruit + sherbet + orange juice. How can you go wrong?!

Sarah’s Fruit Smoothie:


  • 2 cups strawberries (cleaned and hulled)
  • 1 cup kiwi (peeled)
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup orange sherbet


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend away!

This is one of the most basic recipes, but my entire family loves it. This recipe also works really well frozen. Just put the smoothie into popsicle molds, or paper cups, and place in the freezer. If you do go the popsicle route, you may want to switch out the kiwis. My six year old wasn’t a fan of the frozen kiwi seeds!

Christina’s Version:

I have only been making green smoothies for the past year. The first time I made one it was disgusting, and I didn’t want to try one ever again. But I soon found that the problem with my first attempt was a lack of water and ice. When you’re drinking a fruit smoothie it’s okay if some of the fruit pieces aren’t completely blended, but not so with a green smoothie (maybe you can picture me trying to stomach my chunky, warm, spinach smoothie – not so pretty).  What you’re after is a very cold temperature and a smooth almost thin consistency.

My friend Rachel introduced me to a recipe like the one below at her house. I was actually scared to try it because of my previous experience, but, boy, am I glad I did. I love this recipe. It is really sweet, not sweet like sherbet sweet, but way sweeter than you would expect.

To be honest, my older kids won’t drink this version because of the color, but my youngest and I love it!

Christina’s Green Smoothie:


  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 medium oranges (outer peel removed – I try to keep as much as the pith as I can intact for added fiber)
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2 cups cold water


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend at highest setting. The consistency will be quite thin.
  2. Feel great that drinking something so tasty is so good for you!  I promise you’ll barely notice the spinach.  I dare you to try it. :)

So how do you like your smoothies? Red or green?

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